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Media, NGOs: “Russian Law on Foreign Agents is not the Will of Georgia”

Up to 300 non-governmental organizations and media outlets issued a joint statement on the draft law on foreign agents, stating that “the Russian law is not the will of Georgia.” According to the draft law initiated by People’s Power, which has already been submitted to the committees for consideration, an organization that receives more than 20% of its income from foreign sources should be registered in the register of agents of foreign influence.

In the statement issued on February 21, the signatories focus on the threats posed by the legislative amendments, saying that “the attempts to adopt this Russian bill are an attack not only on the independent civil society organizations and the critical media, but on the people of Georgia themselves.”

According to the statement, the draft law aims to leave the abused children and women; people with disabilities, minorities, scientists, workers, and the youth defenseless; to silence the voice of people living in the peripheries of the country who can only communicate their concerns through the independent media.

“This draft law acts as a response to the numerous facts of violence, corruption, lawlessness, and arbitrary application of the laws that we, the civil society and the critical media, are studying and making public,” the statement reads.

The signatories noted that the adoption of this law will amount to “an attack on the core Georgian values of dignity, independence and solidarity with our communities and fellow human beings: and will seriously damage Georgia’s EU integration process, as well as “obstruct our path to EU membership, as this law has been declared illegal in the EU.”

“When Putin passed a similar law in Russia, many organizations chose to dissolve rather than comply with its requirements. Those that continued to operate faced increased control, harassment, and repression,” the statement says.  

Among others, the statement was signed by the UN Association of Georgia (Civil.ge’s founder); Transparency International Georgia; Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy; as well as media outlets Netgazeti, Publika, radio Old City, Radio Liberty, Radio Marneuli, etc.

Note: The joint statement has more than 300 signatories as of 11:40 a.m. on 22 February 2023 and counting.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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